View Full Version : Multiple Cats/Digestive Upsets - Ideas Needed!

09-19-2005, 07:49 PM
[this is rather long, and for that I apologize. If you're willing to read through it, I would love to get some opinions/ideas. Thank you!]

This concerns my three youngest cats (Scully, Miko, and Stephanie). They are fed wet food only: Wellness, Nutro, Innova, California Natural, and the occasional Wysong. A variety of flavors, though I tend to stay away from the fish/seafood.

They eat twice a day, 3 oz. at each meal.

Here's the deal:

We've been having a lot of digestive...issues with the girls. Specifically, Stephanie, and to a lesser extent, Scully. The only thing that seems to bother Miko is the occassional hairball :rolleyes (and that's rare)

First, vomitting. Three cats x two meals a day=42 servings a week. I clean up a pile of post-meal vomit at least two times a week. Is that too much? These are not hairballs, they're barely digested servings of food. Stephanie is almost always the culprit, though Scully has gotten sick a fair amount of times as well.

Tonight, they were served a can of Wysong Beef. This is not a regular meal for them, by the way. But Stephanie vomited almost immediately after eating it, and proceeded to vomit at least four more times (I was not home, my family was). She appears to be otherwise quite normal and active.

Second, there are the poops. Loose stools, sometimes diarrhea. Not 100% positive who they belong to because I'm not home when they're "deposited". My family tells me that Stephanie is most often the culprit of the real stinky poos, but they don't ever venture near enough to investigate what they look like, know what I mean?

As I said, Stephanie is very active, alert, bright eyes, etc. She does not appear sick at all. But I'm beginning to get concerned, and I would love some opinions.

Does this sound like food sensitivities? Possibly IBD? Or does it sound like another problem?

More importantly...

I'm a Bio/pre-vet student, I am not home for most of the week (my family is). How can I determine what food is bothering a specific cat (aside from immediate vomiting)? And how should I moniter who is having loose stools?

Any help is appreciated :D

09-19-2005, 08:13 PM
There are a couple of things that popped out at me from your post one is that you feed them a variety of food. While some cats (or dogs) are able to handle changes in their diet, many cannot and will have vomiting and/or diarrhea. So the first thing I would try would be to limit them to one brand of food. Science diet makes a prescription diet that you can pick up from your vets office called i/d that is made specifically to be gentle to digest, so you could give that a try if you want.

Is there any way that you could separate the cats into different areas fwith their own litter boxes and food/water or a few days to see who is having the issues?

If the cat/s in question are bright, active and alert then you might want to try keeping them on a food like i/d will clear up the problem, but that depends on your comfort level. If they are acting lethargic or don't seem to be themselves (or you don't feel comfortable waiting) I would take the cat into the vet and have an exam with bloodwork and a fecal (to rule out parasites) run. I would be curious to find out how the liver and pancreas are functioning. Your vet may even suggest an x-ray to rule out other problems...it just depends on the vet.

Another thing you can try would be to give smaller more frequent meals. This seems to help some cats with IBD.

To be honest my cat vomits directly after eating at times, he seems to have a trigger for it...it happens more when he is under stress (like if he has been running around begging for dinner and we give it to him a hour late even though we are home :doh) But if he was vomiting 2x a week pretty consistently I think I would have him checked out.

I hope this helps.

09-19-2005, 08:29 PM
We have sister cats (same litter) who are 8 years old and one is fat and one is skinny. They share their food dish (which has fresh dry food daily). The fat cat wolfs down her food and the skinny cat is a dainty eater. The fat cat barfs up her meal about once a month and the food is not digested at all, it is in the same shape as a hair ball but it is the food she has just eaten. I just assumed she had eaten too fast. I would worry though if she was throwing up as often as your sweet kitty.

Please keep us updated as to your findings and I hope you discover the solution.

09-19-2005, 09:32 PM
I would stick with the one food that seems the most benign, instead of switching back and forth. Also, some cats tolerate dry food better than wet. MIL's cat can't keep down ANYTHING canned, but all dry food is tolerated, cheap or expensive (but then, she's 15, so it might just be her).

09-19-2005, 09:55 PM
Thanks for the input so far. I'm going to try limiting the variety of food, and feeding the cats more often. A pain, considering I'm gone so much, but if it makes my babies feel better :) So many cats, so many foods, so many possibilities! I've had food sensitive dogs before, I know what the process is like. It's just that now it's multiplied threefold :rolleyes

I'm also going to try and pinpoint (with some help from the family), just who is having all the litterbox problems. I may call the vet and have a sample tested for parasite, we'll see...

If the limiting food/increasing meals does not produce some improvement, I'll have the cats checked out by the vet, Stephanie first. All the cats appear to be very healthy, yet while Scully and Miko are close to 10 pounds, Stephanie is, well...small. She's significantly shorter and lighter than her sister (Miko). She's not underweight, but she is definitely slim. And she really can't afford to be barfing up her meals, which is why it has me so worried.

I try to avoid Science Diet at all costs. Ick, ick, ick ingredients :sick2 And we don't feed dry food, mostly because I don't believe it is as beneficial as canned food, and also because Scully (our former stray) will binge on it :doh If we had to feed it in controlled portions, I would, but I won't cross that bridge until I come to it.

09-19-2005, 10:02 PM
I've been thinking some more...

Would a raw diet be beneficial for a cat with food sensitivities?

I've always wanted to try and do a raw food diet for them, but I've never actually done it. I know it'll be a little bit more work, especially at the beginning, but if it will help I'd give it a go :)

09-19-2005, 10:12 PM
Personally I am not a fan of raw diets. I know some people like them, but I have seen some of the problems that can arise from using them. It would also be quite a change from what your cats are eating now. If you want to try a raw diet I would wait until you rule out other medical problems first.

09-20-2005, 05:28 AM
I agree about limiting the variety ... one of my kitties gets major upsets if we have to change the food.

Btw, those are all very good brands, but maybe on the rich side? Maybe you could mix in some dry (slowly)?

09-20-2005, 02:51 PM
Thank you all for your advice, it is very much appreciated!

Here's the plan for now:

Increase the number of meals from two, to three, and perhaps eventually four smaller meals a day. Have at least one of those meals be dry food. We'd have to see how that pans out, because Scully tends to binge on dry, and has (in the past) become food-aggressive. Cats certainly keep us on our toes, don't they? :rolleyes

I bought some more food today, Wellness Turkey, Chicken, Innova Lite, and California Natural (Chicken and Rice). No beef, I'm almost 100% positive Stephanie can't tolerate it. I'm going to feed one food for awhile, then another, and so on. I'll try to give it about a week per food to see if there are any problems. Hopefully not, but we'll just have to wait and see.

09-20-2005, 06:03 PM
You might want to give each food trial more than a week for the cats to get accostumed to it. I generally tell people when starting a new food to do it gradually over the course of a week. Starting out by adding a little of the new food and slowly increasing the amount until it is all the new food.